I am standing in front of the open fridge at tea time. Is it chips, croquettes or wedges to go with the sausages
that need eating up? I feel limited to what is there, but want to add something to liven the meal up a bit! No rules, but my own sense and my own taste.
I am preparing a meal for invited guests. Which spice or herb and how much shall I add to my stew, or should I play safe and stick to the recipe?
I listen to my favourite Symphony. It must be a large orchestra to make such a rich sound – amazing how it all comes together. I wonder if it sounded like this centuries ago when newly composed and how close is this to the composer’s imagination? The tempo and feeling are in the conductor’s heart. Is this authentic to the original?
A small group of musicians get together to play jazz. It is not a completely random jam-session. A snippet of melody or a sequence of chords offer some order, but so much more freedom for expression in the moment, not imposed but springing from each individual.
Christian life is steeped in history, tradition, words – but lived in the current moment and situation. We seek the recipe and the ingredients for the occasion. It is tempting to look for the prescriptive word of God and of faith for that moment. It is comforting to turn to another who has knowledge of the original, but we sometimes question if the interpretation is authentic. It is good to be part of the Church seeking to live our lives in straightforward obedience and supported and to be carried along when we struggle.
It is uplifting to be part of that great symphony of faith, bringing its composer’s imagination to life for today, but simply playing our part, strictly obedient to the score and the conductor.
Most of life, however, is spent in other settings – work, family, amongst friends, out and about in the world. Often we find there is no prescriptive word for a situation, there is no score or recipe to follow. Yet we have God’s living Word, His Spirit in our hearts. We pick up on that bit of melody that comes from the Gospel. There is a pattern of chords that provides structure to life everywhere. We don’t have the recipe book to hand, but we know how to make a meal taste good (and how we might mess it up!).
In our life of faith we are called to offer our individual gifts and with the spirit and rhythm of God in Christ to freely express his love and grace and purpose in every moment. It comes from the heart. It is in the bones. Christian life is true jazz!